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BMW iX1 2023 review

  • Drivetrainbattery electric vehicle
  • Battery capacity67kWh
  • Battery typeLithium-ion
  • Range400km (ADR 81/02)
  • Plug Type AC/DCType 2 AC/CCS DC
  • DC charge rate130kW
  • AC charge rate22kW
  • Motor output230kW/494Nm
  • Efficiency18.3kWh/100km
Complete Guide to BMW IX1

The world is full of shock brand announcements.

Remember the time Coke suddenly changed its cola recipe? Or when Apple decided to take on Nokia with iPhone? Nobody saw those coming.

We all know how the latter turned out and even the former eventually became a marketing masterstroke.

Now here's another super-surprise – a German electric luxury SUV that’s actually comparatively inexpensive. And not stingily equipped. Yep, we’re talking about the iX1.

Based on the really rather impressive third-generation X1, it decisively undercuts similarly-specified rivals from Mercedes-Benz (EQA, EQB) and Genesis (GV60).

But is the Bavarian EV SUV worth paying that little bit extra for against (only very slightly) cheaper alternatives like the Hyundai Ioniq 5, Kia EV6, Tesla Model Y, Polestar 2 and Volvo XC40 Recharge?

Let’s see.

Price and features – Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with?

For now, only a single iX1 grade is available, dubbed xDrive30, starting from $84,900 (all prices are before on-road costs).

Most buyers seem to be choosing the no-cost-extra racier 'M Sport' pack over the more-conservatively presented 'xLine'.

Both come complete with double-the-usual AC charging capability (22kW), twin-motor all-wheel drive, a 67kWh battery, variable-ratio steering and adaptive dampers as standard.

The xDrive30 wears a price tag starting from $84,900, before on-road costs. The xDrive30 wears a price tag starting from $84,900, before on-road costs.

In contrast, the Mercedes EQB 350 4Matic equivalent starts from over $107,000 (though a less-expensive single-motor front-drive version comes in from nearly $89,000), and both with a slower 11kW charger. Genesis’ advanced GV60, meanwhile, kicks off from nearly $108K.

We cannot remember BMW ever going so hard on comparative value in Australia, though how it responds to the sensational (though admittedly smaller) Volvo EX30’s $59,990 ask remains to be seen.

Anyway, the iX1 is no bare-bones special.

The iX1 comes with double-the-usual AC charging capability (22kW). The iX1 comes with double-the-usual AC charging capability (22kW).

Besides the aforementioned twin electric motors, AWD, 22kW AC charger and (non-driver-configurable) adaptive dampers, there are goodies like keyless entry/start, a digital key with ultra-wide-band tech, a 10.7-inch multimedia touchscreen, a digital instrumentation cluster, ‘Hey, BMW!’ voice control, a head-up display, sat-nav with augmented reality view, dual-zone climate control, ‘Veganza’ artificial leather, a reversing camera, digital radio, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto connectivity, wireless phone charging, a powered tailgate, roof rails and 19-inch alloy wheels.

On the safety front, you’ll find driver-assist tech like autonomous emergency braking (AEB), lane-support systems, adaptive cruise control, adaptive LED headlights and automatic parking assist. More on those in the safety section below.

Need more but want to think less? BMW’s new and simplified option packs bundles key features like a panoramic sunroof, metallic paint (normally $1500 on its own), Harman Kardon audio upgrade, lumbar massaging front seats and alternative interior trims in a reasonably-priced $4700 'Enhancement Pack'.

Upfront of the iX1 is a 10.7-inch multimedia touchscreen. Upfront of the iX1 is a 10.7-inch multimedia touchscreen.

There are several others bundles available, too, as well as a handy 22kW BMW AC Wallbox from $1199, not including installation, that cuts down home-charging from over 33 hours using the regular mains to around 3.5 hours.

And don’t worry, BMW diehards. You can still spend tens of thousands of dollars more via the company’s endlessly extensive options list. The Germans aren’t foolish.

Unlike in the iX3’s Hyundai, Kia or Genesis rivals, which use a pure EV skateboard platform and offer no internal combustion engine (ICE) alternatives on this architecture, there is no V2L Vehicle-to-Load capability. In other words, you cannot charge appliances or power your home in an electrical blackout scenario.

Design – Is there anything interesting about its design?

Arguably the prettiest new BMW SUV you can buy today, the well-proportioned iX1 is nearly impossible to spot over its almost-identical ICE (U11) X1 siblings.

Besides the badging, look for some blue trim bits and pieces inside and out, along with additional digital touchpoints inside.

And while both ride on the same all-new platform that’s resulted in a substantially larger body compared to previous X1 generations, the EV version seems a bit more slammed.

The iX1 is arguably the prettiest new BMW SUV you can buy today. The iX1 is arguably the prettiest new BMW SUV you can buy today.

Dimensionally, the iX1 mirrors today’s X1 at 4500mm long and 1845mm wide, and still sits on the same 2692mm wheelbase, but is 26mm shorter at 1616mm tall and offers 35mm less ground clearance at 170mm.

Result? These plus a bunch of aero enhancements mean the slipperiest iX1 manages a Cd of just 0.26, according to BMW.

And, inevitably, the extra size equals more space inside.

The iX1 measures in at 4500mm long and sits on a 2692mm wheelbase. The iX1 measures in at 4500mm long and sits on a 2692mm wheelbase.

Practicality – How practical is its space and tech inside?

BMW also says the iX1’s cabin is almost as roomy in some ways as the larger X3.

Large doors allow for easy entry and egress, onto sumptuous front seats that provide exceptional comfort and support even on longer journeys.

Surrounded by an expansive feeling of space, the interior feels light and airy, as well as fresh, inviting and premium looking – something previous-gen X1s were rarely accused of being.

The iX1’s cabin is almost as roomy in some ways as the larger X3. The iX1’s cabin is almost as roomy in some ways as the larger X3.

We’re talking on-brand stuff here, beginning with the excellent driving position, ahead of a crisp and attractive dash that’s pleasing to behold. Push-button starting and a small toggle lever operates the transmission.

An ever-so-slightly curved (towards the driver in the best-BMW old-school way) rectangular binnacle houses two digital displays – a 10.25-inch one ahead of the driver offering an array of configurable electronic dials, as well as a 10.7-inch multimedia touchscreen.

BMW pioneered the multimedia controller more than 20 years ago with iDrive, and this descendent of that system reveals all that expertise gained by being intuitive to operate and quick to respond to commands once familiarised. Which shouldn’t take too long.

Out back, backrest comfort and support is A-OK. Out back, backrest comfort and support is A-OK.

It’s all very-EV centric, as the industry inexorably moves to total electrification, but there were a couple of voice-command errors in the iX1, revealing that such systems are still far from perfect. BMW does provide audio volume and climate hard buttons, thankfully, so the basics are looked after.

Speaking of which, the iX1 offers decent levels of vision out, superb ventilation and ample storage in the doors, on the dash and between the front seats. And, as we’ve noted previously in BMWs, the upright smartphone charger is a clever idea. Keeps it in position and is handy to glance at.

Out back, backrest comfort and support is A-OK, and even with the optional sunroof, our test iX1 provided sufficient space for taller bodies, while expected items like ventilation grilles, USB ports and cupholders are fitted.

Cargo capacity of the iX1 ranges from 490 litres to 1495L. Cargo capacity of the iX1 ranges from 490 litres to 1495L.

Note that, though the 40/20/40-split backrests recline slightly, they do not slide as per in the ICE X1, as this is a desirable option.

Nor is the cargo capacity as good in the iX1, due to the inevitable space demanded by that rear-axle-mounted electric motor and battery pack. For the record, ranges from 490 litres to 1495L instead of 540-1527L. Plus, there’s no spare tyre, with just a tyre repair kit fitted.

These aside, the iX1’s spacious and inviting interior remains one of the compact SUV segment’s best.

Under the bonnet – What are the key stats for its motor?

The iX1 boasts BMW’s fifth-generation EV drive system, known as eDrive 5.0 (M170SF).

Being an xDrive30, there are two electric motors fitted – one on each axle to provide all-wheel drive. Both are electrically excited synchronous motor set-ups.

Drive is predominantly to the front wheels via a single-speed reduction gear transmission, unless extra traction is required, in which case the rear motor kicks in to power the back axle.

The iX1 boasts BMW’s fifth-generation EV drive system, known as eDrive 5.0 (M170SF). The iX1 boasts BMW’s fifth-generation EV drive system, known as eDrive 5.0 (M170SF).

Combined with the aid of an overboost function, they deliver 230kW of power and 494Nm of torque, for a 0-100km/h sprint time of 5.6 seconds, on the way to a 180km/h top speed.

Tipping the scales at 2010kg, the xDrive30 provides a power-to-weight ratio of 114kW per tonne, which is a healthy number.

Suspension is via MacPherson-style struts up front and an independent three-link design out back.

If you care, towing limits are 1200kg braked and 750kg unbraked, with a 570kg maximum payload.

Efficiency – What is its driving range? What is its charging time?

BMW says the xDrive30 consumes an average of 18.3kWh/100km.

On the launch drive program, the vehicle displayed 21.3kWh/100km. That included some spirited highway and mountain-road driving conditions.

Fitted with a 67kWh lithium-ion battery pack with a useable 65kWh, the iX1 offers an ADR 81/02-rated range of 400km.

BMW says the xDrive30 consumes an average of 18.3kWh/100km. BMW says the xDrive30 consumes an average of 18.3kWh/100km.

This means a relatively common 50kW DC public charger with a CCS Combo 2 socket will need about 65 minutes to replenish the battery from 10 to 80 per cent or about half an hour with a 150kW charger.

If neither are available, you'll require about 34 hours to charge to 100 per cent maximum using the normal household powerpoint plug. Or, as mentioned earlier, a 22kW AC Wallbox cuts that down to about 3.5 hours.

Each iX1 includes a three-year subscription with Chargefox.

Driving – What's it like to drive?

One of the best things about the iX1 xDrive30 is that it has just enough EV smoothness, refinement and speed to feel special, yet still drives and behaves as a BMW should.

Which hasn't always been the case with previous-gen X1s.

It helps that, from the driver’s seat, everything falls into place: the bracing seats, thoughtfully positioned relative to all controls; and the overall sporty/quality ambience that puts you into the brand mindset.

Select Drive, and the iX1 leaps away sweetly and silently, accompanied by an electric motor whir that's quite pleasing. At speed, acceleration is instant for fast overtaking and there’s plenty more in reserve if you really need to hustle along.

From the driver’s seat, everything falls into place. From the driver’s seat, everything falls into place.

For a 2.0-tonne compact SUV, the steering is remarkably responsive, providing nimble yet secure handling. Maybe it’s all the low-slung weight and near-50:50 weight distribution, but the iX1 displays impressive cornering and road grip. It’s an enjoyable drive.

Initially, novices might find the brakes a bit sudden, but they’re actually pretty progressive once you get used to them, and they feel and stop with a more natural pedal feel than many hybrids we’ve experienced. Again, BMW has tuned the xDrive30 to feel inclusive.   

Speaking of the stoppers, there are no paddle shifters to control the amount of single-pedal off-accelerator braking as per many other EVs, but putting the transmission from ‘D’ to ‘B’ brings a decent level of deceleration if not a full stop – as if you’re lighting resting your foot on the pedal. We’d like the option of a heavier self-braking function, though.

BMW has tuned the xDrive30 to feel inclusive.    BMW has tuned the xDrive30 to feel inclusive.   

The launch program avoided city roads and heavy traffic, but we still found plenty of bad, pot-holed surfaces to favourably judge the adaptive dampers’ ability to help soak up the bumps.

While not super-soft or supple, the suspension is cushy enough for a comfy ride. And certainly better than many past BMW SUVs.

A bit too much road and tyre noise intrusion aside, the xDrive30 is dynamically very sorted indeed.

For a 2.0-tonne compact SUV, the steering is remarkably responsive. For a 2.0-tonne compact SUV, the steering is remarkably responsive.

Which, when you consider all the other positive aspects of the iX1, you end up with a BMW offering an impressively broad band of capabilities.

It’s rapid, nimble and reactive to driver inputs, as you’d expect an SUV from this brand to be, without the compromise of harshness or discomfort.

What it’s like around town in a peak-hour crawl, or how far you can really get from a fully-charged battery, is something we’ll find out when we can conduct a full road test, so please watch this space.

Until then, as it stands, things are looking promising indeed for the xDrive30. Especially factoring in the value pricing.

The iX1 is rapid, nimble and reactive to driver inputs. The iX1 is rapid, nimble and reactive to driver inputs.

Safety – What safety equipment is fitted? What is its safety rating?

ANCAP awarded the X1 petrol versions a five-star rating in 2022, based on the European NCAP result. No separate iX1 figure is as-yet available.

The iX1 comes with many of the latest driver-assist safety tech features, including AEB with day/night pedestrian and cyclist detection. This system is operational from 5.0km/h.

You'll also find front and rear cross-traffic alert, secondary collision avoidance braking, as well as a blind-spot monitor, lane-departure warning and swerve-assist systems, speed assist tech like adaptive cruise control with full-stop/go functionality, stability and traction controls, anti-lock brakes with brake-assist and a drowsy driver alert.

The iX1 is yet to receive an ANCAP safety rating. The iX1 is yet to receive an ANCAP safety rating.

The lane support systems start from 60km/h and the driver monitoring system kicks in from 70km/h.

Along with dual-front airbags, the front-seat occupants have side chest and side pelvis airbag protection, as well as an airbag between them to help mitigate lateral-impact injuries while outboard rear-seat occupants have side head airbags (also called curtain airbags) coverage. The total airbag count is seven.

ISOFIX child-seat latches are fitted to outboard rear seat positions, while a trio of top tethers for straps are included across the back bench.

Ownership – What warranty is offered? What are its service intervals? What are its running costs?

Last year, BMW introduced a five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty with all its products, finally catching up with the industry warranty average after a protracted period of just a three-year coverage.

While there’s no capped-price servicing, you can pre-purchase a number of service bundles, to help save a bit more money further down the track.

There's a choice of 'Basic' or 'Plus' packages, in four or six-year (both with unlimited kilometre) programs, known as 'Service Inclusive'. They cost $1263/$4784 and $1800/$5784, respectively. 'Plus' covers brake pads/discs and wiper blade rubbers.

The iX1 is covered by a five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty. The iX1 is covered by a five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty.

Note, however, that roadside assistance remains at three years.

Keep in mind, too, that BMW vehicles have a self-diagnosis feature that varies the service intervals according to how they’re used as well as wear and tear.

Our advice is to keep making an appointment annually or at about every 10,000km, just to be on the safe side.

  • Drivetrainbattery electric vehicle
  • Battery capacity67kWh
  • Battery typeLithium-ion
  • Range400km (ADR 81/02)
  • Plug Type AC/DCType 2 AC/CCS DC
  • DC charge rate130kW
  • AC charge rate22kW
  • Motor output230kW/494Nm
  • Efficiency18.3kWh/100km
Complete Guide to BMW IX1

BMW is a true EV pioneer, as the 2014 i3 and subsequent models prove. There’s never been one that we didn’t like. The only problem was that all were expensive. And at times, prohibitively so.

Astoundingly, the iX1 breaks that cycle, comparatively speaking, while impressing us with its design, quality, packaging, dynamics and equipment levels.

As it stands, the xDrive30 is one of the most convincing and best-value medium-sized luxury SUV EVs on the market right now.

Who’d have thought it from a BMW?

$80,300 - $92,290

Based on third party pricing data

VIEW PRICING & SPECS

Score

4.2/5
Price Guide

$80,300 - $92,290

Based on third party pricing data

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